Monday October 15, 2018
On Saturday 29th September, Lotus celebrated its 70th birthday, and so this is by way of a small tribute to the way in which the cars bearing the famous logo have created so many unforgettable screen moments. These are just five of the films and television programmes in which a Lotus is a crucial element -
5) Elan Plus 2 – Department S
‘When a case proves too baffling for the minds of Interpol, they turn to the talents of Department S’. That is what ITC claimed in 1969, and although memories of the series are almost always dominated by Peter Wyngarde and his James Young-bodied Bentley S2 Continental, the show also features a 1967 Elan Plus 2.
This footage brilliantly demonstrates why everyone needs to have the box-set in their DVD collection -
4) Europa “John Player” Special – 11 Harrowhouse
A somewhat overlooked crime thriller from 1974 that features both James Mason at his best and a Europa Special, with the “Big Valve” twin cam engine and a five-speed gearbox. ‘Certainly there are few cars in the world that can match its combination of roadholding, performance and fuel consumption, and if your choice must embrace these three factors, then the Europa Special fits the bill’ thought Autocar in 1973. And, as you can see, it is more than a match for the Jaguar S-Type and the Ford Transit -
3) Elan S2 and S3 – The Avengers
In 1965 The Avengers underwent a significant change of format – film replaced videotape, there was a new theme tune from Laurie Johnson, and Diana Rigg became the leading lady.
As befitting one of the greatest heroines of 1960s television, Mrs. Peel drove an Elan S2, which was succeeded by a S3 when the show made the transfer to colour. This footage is proof (if proof were needed) of how The Avengers can never be surpassed -
2) Esprit – The Spy Who Loved Me
As the story has it, the PR manager for Lotus, one Donovan McLaughlan, drove an Esprit to the gates of Pinewood Studios in early 1976, during the early stages of the 10th 007 film – and the top brass at Eon was understandably impressed. Two Esprits, plus five bodyshells for submarine conversion, were used in the production and although For Your Eyes Only used a Turbo its main vehicle was arguably the 2CV.
It was The Spy Who Loved Me that featured the definitive “Bond Car” of the Roger Moore era -
Despite the great man’s subsequent complaints that ‘the cars were problematic in the extreme’ this is still an eyebrow-raising sequence -
1) Super Seven Series II – The Prisoner
Over the course of seventeen episodes Number Six uses three Sevens. The main KAR 120 C was a factory demonstrator powered by the 1.5 litre Cosworth engine and a second privately sourced Super Seven was used for the episode Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.
There was also a 100E powered Seven in the final edition, but such points of continuity are of little importance when you are considering one of the most exceptional television programmes ever made…